To MAC or Not To MAC? That Is the Question

Jessica Kottmeier, Staff Writer

Many juniors plan on going to Mineral Area College (MAC) their senior year, and most seniors love the freedom of it. The question is, are there more pros than cons to going to MAC while still in high school?

Some things that MAC has to offer are good. For example, a student can earn college credits while still in high school, which in the end could save about a year of going to college. This is also good because those who qualify will only have to pay one third of the regular tuition cost, while CHS and MAC pay the other two thirds of the total cost and for all of the books. This definitely saves money for the student.

Another positive thing about going to MAC is that there is some freedom. Since the classes are Monday, Wednesday, Friday (MWF) or Tuesday, Thursday, (TH) there is more time to do homework. Also, the student has the ability to set up a schedule how they want. For example, a student can set up their classes so that they have a free hour, or so that they only have classes on MWF or TH. That allows for a lot of freedom and free time. Another way students can set up their schedule is so that they don’t have class until nine am. Being able to sleep later is always a positive thing! Some other things that students see as an upside to going to MAC is that there are new people to meet and new experiences.

The fact that students actually go to the campus instead of taking a dual credit class at the high school gives them a break from being at the high school. Probably the best part of going to Mineral Area College your senior year, is that the classes don’t have subs, but rather they are simply cancelled. Also, if you have a failing grade you can drop the class so that it looks as if you never took it. This allows the student the chance to retake it, with a different teacher perhaps, and earn the grade they want on their permanent record. Plus, there is always the benefit of cheaper vending machines than the ones found at the high school.

With all of these positives, there are going to be some negatives, too.  The biggest negative that you will find when attending MAC versus the high school are that the classes are harder. This doesn’t sound like much for most students because if a person is going to MAC it is usually because they can handle it. I am a straight A student and I find some of the classes very challenging. I don’t think it is the work, but rather the amount of time and the resources it requires. For example, a high school English teacher will assign an essay and give the students time in class to pre-write, draft, edit, and finalize. However, a college teacher will assign an essay and expect the rough draft to be done and ready to edit the next class period, with no time in class to work on it. I especially find this hard to do when I have a part time job after school. This is very stressful, and makes many of the classes challenging. Also, some high school teachers would understand if the student couldn’t get it done all at home for whatever reasonable cause, where as a college teacher not only doesn’t want your excuse, but they don’t accept any late work.

This brings me to another negative of going to MAC. Each teacher has their own rules about attendance, grades, late work, and so on. This makes it difficult to remember who has which rule sometimes. The idea that a student can drop a class sounds good because they can get the grade they want and it won’t show if they failed it previously (as long as they dropped the class in time), however this leads to a down side because the teachers can decide to drop students if they miss a class or two. Then, the student is left to still pay for it.

The cost is another thing that could be considered a negative of MAC:  students do have to pay to go there. The total I paid for both semesters was about $900 which is kind of hard to afford with a part time job. On the other hand, that is only 1/3 of the price I would have paid if the school didn’t pay for most of it, plus the cost of books.  However, it was still stressful to come up with the money, plus all of the other expenses of senior year.

One of the biggest reasons some students chose not to go to Mineral Area College their senior year is because you don’t get the full college experience and you also miss out on so many events at the high school. There could be time that students miss pep rallies, fun activities, games and other things because they have class at MAC, have to study or are taking a test after school. Many MAC  students would agree that they miss out on a lot and wish that they would not.

So, are there more pros than cons, or cons than pros? In all honesty it just depends on the student and how their individual experience was. I found going to MAC sometimes to be a struggle, and sometimes to be a great thing. I do not wish to go back to junior year and decide not to go, but some students have said that they do. So it depends on the person, the classes they take, and the other things they have going on in their life outside of school as to how they will like their experience at MAC.